How to create abstract shapes in Photoshop Tutorial

A tutorial on how to create / draw / make an irregular / abstract shape in Photoshop CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc.

Create / draw shapes in Photoshop

how to draw irregular shapes in Photoshop
  1. Select pen tool in the Photoshop toolbar for the irregular / abstract custom shape design

  2. Set to shape option

  3. Set the fill and stroke

  4. Click the current document

  5. Repeat in different locations

  6. To close, click the initial point

  7. Select the convert point tool to round the curves of the irregular custom shape in Photoshop

The tutorial shows how to use the pen tool in Photoshop and how to draw irregular shapes using the free form pen tool.


videoVideo tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


Basics : penPhotoshop can be used to create numerous unusual designs - there are a number of ways of approaching it


This tutorial is for unusual designs but the same approach can be used for the creation of all kinds of basic as well as complex vector artworks in PS



Buy $4.50 13,000 Amazing weird and wonderful vector designs for use in PS and PS Elements CSH gallery


Pen tool approach : penIn my first example I will use the pen tool which can be found in the Photoshop toolbox.


Select the pen tool and then click the document in different locations which will add points to the current artboard. Select the shape layer option otherwise a path will be created.


Hold down the mouse : directionYou can hold down the mouse at certain numbers of those points and move the direction points away from the anchor point to generate a curve with the path. To complete or close the path then just click the start point and there you have your new oddball vector design


Define as shape : defineAnother option (to make the path more visible) is to turn the design into a native vector artwork - go to the edit menu and define command.


Free form : freeformInstead of using the pen tool, use the next tool in the toolbox: free form pen tool.


Just select and then draw as you would with a normal pen. Personally it is easier to use an artpad / pen instead of a mouse. Again, finish the creation of the path by meeting the start point.


Go to the path panel and fill with a color or use the define command.


You can draw truly weird and wonderful vectors with the free form tool. It is not the most elegant of tools but the results can be pretty unique


Another option to use to turn the design into a native artwork is just to click the 'shape' button along the top option bar (this is with the most recent versions).


Magnetic option : magneticVery similar to the above approach but you can also set the magnetic option on for the free form pen tool and it does create a very quick and easy way of creating very abstract designs as the magnetic tool has a tendency to randomly jump back and forth and on completion


You can find the magnetic enable option along the top bar when you select the free form tool


The design is probably far more random than you could ever create just by sketching.


Using stars etc : The CSH tool / ellipse / stars / rectangles etc can be used as a great source for unusual designs.


To do this, select the rectangle or ellipse tool and create a single rectangle or ellipse. Go to the path operations (pathfinder in Adobe AI) along the top option bar and set the option to 'combine' (or any of the others if you wish to subtract from the initial design) and then apply another rectangle / ellipse and so on.


Repeat the creation of the rectangle or circle or star etc multiple times and each path is then added to the original design. Apply the artworks on top of the earlier designs or apply different scatterings to the artworks. They will all be added in the same current color.


On completion, go to the edit menu and use the define command to save the new work to the presets panel. You can make the artwork as weird and abstract as you wish.


Transforms and warping : Not strictly involving any drawing but by using the edit menu in PS and transform and warp command with a selected path (even a rectangle) then you can create a quick unusual designs from all kinds of regular ones.


You might not achieve the best graphic with one pass of the warp tool as the warp grid is only 3 x 3 but you can always it multiple times or use individual points.


Select the individual points / nodes of the warp grid by using the direct selection tool and warp the path in many different ways.


Repeat and repeat with the transform and warp and path manipulation until you are happy with the distortion and the abstract artwork


Brush tool approach : brushYou can also use a brush tool as well as other tools and convert that into a vector. Create a new layer and then apply brush strokes to that layer. Probably works best when the brush is set to hardness of 100% and paint all kinds of scribbles and tangled designs.


Go to the select menu and load selection and use layer 1 transparency (or 2 or 3 depending on the layer) and go to the paths panel and make it a work path via the right side menu. Set tolerance as required and click OK and then again, define this via the edit menu



Curvature tool : curvatureWith CC 2018, a new feature was added - the curvature tool and that can be used to create some really odd distorted vectors in seconds


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